Cost of King Charles’s ‘slimmed-down’ Coronation versus Queen’s

King Charles and Queen Camilla record TFL coronation announcement

As the nation prepares to welcome its new monarch with three days of celebration, many will be thinking of the late Queen Elizabeth II as well as her son, King Charles III.

Crowned at the young age of 27 back in 1953 in the aftermath of the Second World War, she ushered in an era of hope and prosperity and was Britain’s longest-reigning monarch by the time of her death last September.

On Saturday, the longest-serving heir apparent will be coronated at age 74 – in times far more uncertain for the monarchy in many ways.

As modern sensibilities leave more Brits questioning the role of an unelected head of state than ever before, the cost-of-living crisis that has been devastating ordinary citizens for over a year has led to heated debate over the expense of the Coronation itself.

Partly as a reflection of this unease – with the looming threat of protests driving up security costs – while the Queen’s ceremony cost an estimated £56million when adjusted for inflation, the King’s will come in at around £100million, with some suggesting it could even be far higher than that.

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Centuries of tradition will obviously mean the two events bear many similarities. The venue, Westminster Abbey, has been Britain’s coronation church since 1066.

Ahead of the event, a Buckingham Palace statement read: “The Coronation is a solemn religious service, together with an occasion for celebration and pageantry.

“The ceremony has retained a similar structure for over a thousand years, and this year’s Coronation is expected to include the same core elements while recognising the spirit of our times.”

This recognition chimes with the King’s desire for a “slimmed-down monarchy”, both of which mean the pomp and circumstance is to be significantly scaled back this time around.

For one, while upwards of 8,000 guests from 129 countries had a front-row seat for the Queen’s Coronation, just 2,000 are on the guestlist to join the King inside the Abbey on his special day.

Despite just a quarter of the amount of attendees flying in, guaranteeing their safety from the moment they touch down in the UK until they leave could reportedly cost an additional £150million alone, according to a Home Office insider.

Arrival airports such as RAF Northolt in Middlesex and RAF Biggleswade in Bedfordshire have ramped up security amid fears climate change groups such as Just Stop Oil will cause disruption.

Operation Golden Orb – the codename for the event – also consists of rooftop snipers and thousands of armed police on the streets of London to monitor the crowds along the procession route, as anti-monarchists from Republic agitate to make a statement.

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While the Queen did invite television cameras into the Abbey for the first time, a 4-mile procession route was also sketched out to ensure a throng of three million Londoners could see her in person.

King Charles’s route will be far more direct, running little more than a mile. The 40,000-strong military contingent on display will also be slashed to 4,000. The digital age, however, will mean the images beam to a far wider global audience.

While an estimated 27 million Brits watched the Queen’s Coronation at home, over 300 million worldwide are expected to be watching the ceremony live on Saturday.

Once back at Buckingham Palace, the newly crowned King will join Queen Camilla and family members on the balcony to watch a flypast of over 60 military planes and helicopters, including the renowned Red Arrows display team. Over 600 took part last time round.

A Coronation Concert – an entirely new addition to proceedings – including Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Take That among others, is also likely to have driven up the cost.

Who’s paying?

As Coronations are state events, the bill will fall to the state, and so ultimately be footed by the taxpayer.

Smaller, ceremonial, affairs tend to rely solely on private sources such as revenue from the Duchies of Lancaster or Cornwall and the Sovereign Grant – the Crown’s regular annual bursary from the Treasury worth £86.3million this financial year.

In spite of the staggering cost, advocates claim that revenue from international TV rights and the boost in international tourism will more than recoup these costs for the wider British economy.

The exact cost of the Coronation is unlikely to be confirmed until the Palace releases its annual financial report in June.

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